We’ve all been there. Whether the first date or the fiftieth date, we’ve all experienced stress while planning an outing when interested in someone. Dinner dates have become an expected go-to for dates, but now that summer is coming to an end and cuffing season is approaching, let’s diversify our dating experience. Check out some of my favorite spots:
All Hail – Alamo Drafthouse
Downtown, Los Angeles
Unless you’ve already established a relationship with bae, going to the movies on a date doesn’t allow you to learn about the other person as you’re sitting in silence for at least two hours. Alamo Drafthouse has come to change this as it’s not your typical movie theater. Located in Downtown Los Angeles, Alamo Drafthouse has restaurants, drinks, games, and a theater all in one. A couple can start the date by grabbing a bite and cocktails at a restaurant, followed by a few arcade games. If all goes well, and you didn’t have one too many beers or margaritas, you can close the night by catching a movie.
A full-service menu with food, cocktails, and wine by the glass/bottle are available for purchase during your movie viewing experience. At your seat, you’ll find an order card and a small golf pencil to place an order at any time during the show. Once you fill out the order form, all you have to do is place it in a special clip which will then get your server’s attention. Of course, you will be in a theater, so the server retrieves your order card inconspicuously without disturbing the show.
If things have really gone well, you can bypass the movie theater experience and bring a film home with you instead. Alamo Drafthouse’s Video Vortex has a video rental library with over 40,000 titles. While there, you’ll definitely feel nostalgic with a reminder of what Blockbuster used to be – except these titles are free. Yes, FREE! Video Vortex and chill for the win!
Oh, La La! – Sur La Table
Multiple locations across California
A prepared dish is even more tasteful when made with love. Sur La Table offers the hands-on opportunity to prepare a meal from start to finish with your partner in a cooking class. Throughout the experience, you’ll share love, laughter, and perhaps even a sense of vulnerability. Each month features a theme with dishes that align with that particular category. While October highlights bold soups, stews, and autumn-inspired dishes, November boasts Thanksgiving essentials and apple pies.
- Sample Cast Iron Menu:
- Chicken Braised in White Wine with Wild Mushrooms
- Crispy Smashed Yukon Gold Potatoes with Rosemary Salt
- Grilled Pear, Walnut, and Pomegranate Salad
- Chocolate Pecan Brownies with Armagnac Whipped Cream
Is your mouth watering yet? This is only one of the many menus that are offered. The cooking portion of the class is from 60-90 minutes, but the total duration is an estimated 2 to 2.5 hours including dessert and plating. If this seems a bit long, you are welcome to bring your own wine to liven up the festivities. During the evening you’re joined by 15 other participants at the most, but you’re able to curate an experience as interactive or private as you desire.
Classes are between $47 and $79 per person depending on the type of meal offered. If you would prefer to spectate rather than participate, demonstration classes are also offered where chefs explain how to prepare the dishes and how to navigate in the kitchen. Sur La Table classes fill up quickly, so be sure to reserve in advance for future dates!
The Wine Down – The Blending Lab Winery
If preparing dishes in a cooking class isn’t your first choice, The Blending Lab Winery offers classes to create your own unique blend of wine. With grapes sourced throughout California, participants learn about grapes, the winemaking process, how to blend wines, and at the end of the evening, you take your bottle of wine home*. At $55 per person, participants experience a two-hour blending and tasting experience. This sounds like my type of party. I can’t wait to blend a bottle for the perfect night in.
*for an additional cost
It’s Lit! – Beach Bonfires with Bae
Dockweiler and Huntington Beach
If you’re like me, you love large bodies of water. Living in Southern California we’re able to experience sand and waves of the pacific almost all year round. I’ve experienced a lot of dates, some more fascinating than others, but my favorites are on the beach. With just a little preparation, you can enjoy this as well. In Dockweiler or Huntington Beach, there are fire pits available on a first-come, first-serve basis. For a private pit, it may be best to arrive just before sunset just in case many others have the same idea that you do (summer tends to be the high-peak season). Before you arrive at the pits you will first gather your materials. The pit requires charcoal, lighter fluid, and matches to start the bonfire. Some couples may simply enjoy the opportunity to get close and talk in this intimate setting. Meanwhile, other couples may take it up a notch by bringing marshmallows to roast and make smores. Or if you’re hungry, why not roast hot dogs? This has cute, fun, and low-cost written all over it! If you go, take a look around as I may be there too!
Phenomenal Views – Perch Restaurant
Downtown, Los Angeles
Perch rooftop restaurant, bar, and lounge is one of downtown LA’s hot spots. First, the ambiance is amazing: the restaurant overlooks Pershing Square and on days where the sunset is particularly beautiful you’re in for a special treat. There’s seating both inside and outdoors – but I believe those who are indoors either made no reservations or very last minute reservations. It goes without saying – Make reservations as soon as possible! Otherwise, you’ll be stuck indoors in what I call the “nosebleed section.” Every evening there’s a magical band playing outside. The band is always captivating so you would surely want to be up close and personal and not in the “nosebleeds.” The atmosphere is beautiful and you’re already enjoying the scene before you’ve even had one bite of food. The restaurant offers a French fare that doesn’t disappoint. If you’re afraid of heights, try Perch’s sister restaurant, Mrs. Fish, which though on the ground floor, also has an ambiance, food, and weekend live music to die for. Mrs. Fish boasts their delicious sushi fare, unique whiskey, and art to give patrons a true taste of Tokyo. I experienced my first Japanese margarita here. Have you made your reservation to either restaurant yet? Cheers!